Octo Tapas, Saigon - review by Rusty Compass
Ho Chi Minh City | eating guide

Independent reviews and recommendations by Rusty Compass. No advertorial, no paid placements and no sponsored content.

Octo Tapas, Saigon

| 26 Apr 2019
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Octo Tapas, Saigon
Upstairs, 75 Ho Tung Mau, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City - near Bitexco Financial Centre
Lunch and dinner

Price guide: Tapas from 140K to 400K

26 Apr 2019

Octo Tapas Restobar opened in early 2018 and well over a year later, it’s still buzzing. Octo's carved out a space for quality tapas, cocktails and a cool vibe. It's hidden away on the top floor of an old shophouse in the heart of the city. You won't stumble across it.

Note: The information provided in this review was correct at time of publishing but may change. For final clarification please check with the relevant service

I’ve been to Octo a bunch of times but only recently sat down for a proper meal. In a way that sums the place up. You can swing by for a cocktail or a glass of wine, grab something light to eat, or dive into a night of feasting. No matter.

Octo is owned by long-term Saigon resident and chef, Frenchman Julien Thabault. He was chef at the successful Australian owned Stoker Grill before moving on to do his own thing. At Octo, he’s closer to home and looking very comfortable with Iberian cuisine.

Julien Thabault, Octo Tapas, Saigon
Photo: Mark Bowyer Julien Thabault, Octo Tapas, Saigon
 
Octo Tapas, Saigon
Photo: Mark Bowyer Octo Tapas, Saigon

 

Thabault found an atmospheric, hidden space on a downtown Saigon street that’s becoming a little hub of food and drinks. They scrubbed the render back to reveal colonial-era brickwork, put some mood lighting in, and devoted an entire wall to a stage-like open kitchen - as a chef designing a restaurant should. There’s a long bar if you want a close-up view of the kitchen action.

The space has energy. And it’s a good size. The staff offer a friendly welcome and the machine works.

Tapas start from around 140K VND and hit around 400K. There's a good selection of wines including a handful by the glass.

Octo has a lunch special for 200K VND. The cocktails get good reviews too. It’s well priced for the food and feel.

We ain't fans of smoking in restaurants so it would be remiss of us to overlook the fact that Octo is a smoking venue - at least at the bar. If you're a smoker, this is a Saigon holdout upholding a curious European tradition. It didn't impact my visits - probably because of the high ceilings and the fact that there were few smokers around. But be warned.

 

Disclosure
Rusty Compass recommendations are always independent. We list the places we think you should know about. That’s it. We’ve paid our way at Octo Tapas and no money changed hands for this listing.

Mark Bowyer
Mark Bowyer is the founder and publisher of Rusty Compass.
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